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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Conducting Frank Almond

Violinist takes the lead in chamber orchestra concert

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Frank Almond, one of Milwaukee’s most admired musicians, performed in an unusual role at the Frankly Music season finale last week. Rather than playing violin, he was conductor for a chamber orchestra concert. It has been some years since he last conducted in Milwaukee. This time around he had clearly grown into the role with assurance and definitely communicated insightful intentions.

Almond does not have to do this, after all. He has absolutely nothing to prove as a musician to those of us who have witnessed so many years of his justly laudable accomplishments. But some urge in him drove him to conduct. After hearing the result, it is evident that it is the right urge to pursue. Theoretically, it might not be an easy situation for the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to conduct his colleagues, but Almond pulled it off convincingly. The players, almost all from the MSO, obviously wanted to play well for him and did.

The fine points of ensemble playing of the musicians grew in cohesiveness as the program progressed, which included Mendelssohn’s String Sinfonia No. 10 in B minor, Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, Op. 22, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 92.

 

 

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